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either from his own observation, or the credible informations of others, easily procured suitable materials for a history, which professed only to deal in sensible objects, and those of the most splendid and conspicuous kind. He was familiarly known to two kings of England, and one of Scotland'. But the court which he most admired was that of Gaston earl of Foix, at Orlaix in Bearn; for, as he himself acquaints us, it was not only the most brilliant in Europe, but the grand center for tidings of martial adventures. It was crouded with knights of England and Arragon. In the mean time it must not be forgot that Froissart, who from his childhood was strongly attached to carousals, the music of minstrells, and the sports of hawking and hunting", cultivated the poetry of the troubadours, and was a writer of romances'. This turn, it must be confessed, might have some share in communicating that romantic cast to his history which I have mentioned. During his abode at the court of the earl of Foix, where he was entertained for twelve weeks, he presented to the earl his collection of the poems of the duke of Luxemburgh, consisting of sonnets, balades, and virelays. Among these was included a romance, composed by himself, called MELIADER, or The Knight of THE SUN OF GOLD. Gaston's chief amusement was to hear Froissart read this romance P every evening after supper”. At the Third. He was afterwards canon well as sung at feasts. So Wace in the and treasurer of Chimay in Henault, Roman du Rou, in the British Museum, and of Lisle in Flanders; and chaplain above mentioned. to Guy earl of Castellon. Labor. Introd.

Doit l'en les vers et les regestes, a l'Hist. de Charles vi. p. 69. Compare

Et les estoires LIRE as festes. also Froissart's Chron. ii, f. 29. 305. 319. And Bullart, Academ. des Arts 9 Froissart brought with him for a et des Scienc. i. p. 125. 126.

present to Gaston Earl of Foix four 1 Cron. ii. f. 158. 161.

greyhounds, which were called by the m Cron. ii. f. 30. This was in 1381. romantic names of Tristram, Hector,

See Mem. Lit. ut supr. p. 665. Brut, and Roland. Gaston was so fond

Speaking of the death of king of hunting, that he kept upwards of six Richard, Froissart quotes a prediction hundred dogs in his castle. M. de la from the old French prose romance of Curne, ut supr. p. 676. 678. He wrote Brut, which he says was fulfilled in a treatise on hunting, printed 1520. See that catastrophe. liv. iv. c. 119. Frois- Verdier, Art, GASTON Comte de Foir. sart will be mentioned again as a poet. In illustration of the former part of this

P I take this opportunity of remarking, note, Crescimbeni says, “Che in molte that romantic tales or histories appear at nobilissime famiglie Italiane, ha 400 a a very early period to have been read as più anni, passarono' i nomi de' Lancil

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his introduction to Richard'the Second, he presented that brilliant monarch with a book beautifully illuminated, engrossed with his own hand, bound in crimson velvet, and embellished with silver bosses, clasps, and golden roses, comprehending all the matters of Amours and MORALITIES, which in the course of twenty-four years he had composed". This was in the year 1396. When he left England the same years, the king sent him a massy goblet of silver, filled with one hundred nobles:

As we are approaching to Chaucer, let us here stand still, and take a retrospect of the general manners. The tournaments and carousals of our antient princes, by forming splendid assemblies of both sexes, while they inculcated the most liberal sentiments of honour and heroism, undoubtedly contributed to introduce ideas of courtesy, and to encourage decorum. Yet the national manners still retained a great degree of ferocity, lotti, de' Tristani, de Galvani, di Galeotti, plified in the following books, viz. “ Item, delle Isotte (Isoulde], delle Genevre, e a great book of parchmente written and d'altri cavalieri, à dame in esse Tavola lymned with gold of graver's work De RITONDA operanti,” &c. Istor. Volg. confessione Amantis, with xviii other Poes. vol. i. lib. v. p. 327. Venez. 4to. bookes, Le premier volume de Lancelot,

* I should think that this was his ro- FROISSART, Le grant voiage de Jerusamance of MELIADER. Froissart says, lem, Enguerain de Monstrellot,” &c. that the king at receiving it, asked him MSS. Harl. 1419. f. 382. Froissart what the book treated of. He answered was here properly classed. d'Amour. The king, adds our historian, * Froissart says, that he accompanied seemed much pleased at this; and ex- the king to various palaces, “ A Elten, a amined the book in many places, for he Ledos, a Kinkestove, a Cenes, a Cerwas fond of reading as well as speaking tesée et a Windsor.". That is, Elthamn, French. He then ordered Richard Leeds, Kingston, Chertsey, &c. Cron. Crendon, the chevalier in waiting, to liv, iv. c. 119. p. 348. The French are carry it into his privy chamber, dont il not much improved at this day in spellme fit bonne chere. He gave copies of ing English places and names. the several parts of his chronicle, as they (Perhaps by Cenes, Froissart means were finished, to his different patrons. SHENE, the royal palace' at Richmond. Le Laboureur says, that Froissart sent - Additions.) fifty-six quires of his ROMAN AU Cro i Cron. f. 251, 252. 255. 319. 348. NIQUES to Guillaume de Bailly an illu- Bayle, who has an article on Froissart, minator; which, when illuminated, were had no idea of searching for anecdotes intended as a present to the king of En- of Froissart's life in his CHRONICLE. gland. Hist. ch. vi. En la vie de Louis Instead of which, he swells his notes on duc d'Anjou. p. 67. seq. See also Cron. this article with the contradictory aci. iv. c. i.-iii. 26. There are two or counts of Moreri, Vossius, and other's : three fine illuminated copies of Froissart whose disputes might have been all now remaining among the royal manu- easily settled by recurring to Froissart scripts in the British Museum. Among himself, who has interspersed in his the stores of Henry the Eighth at his history many curious particulars relating manor of Bedington in Surry, I find the to his own life and works. fashionable reading of the times exem

and the ceremonies of the most refined courts in Europe had often a mixture of barbarism, which rendered them ridiculous. This absurdity will always appear at periods when men are so far civilised as to have lost their native simplicity, and yet

have not attained just ideas of politeness and propriety. Their luxury was inelegant, their pleasures indelicate, their pomp cumbersome and unwieldy. In the mean time it may seem surprising, that the many schools of philosophy which flourished in the middle ages, should not have corrected and polished the times. But as their religion was corrupted by superstition, so their philosophy degenerated into sophistry. Nor is it science alone, even if founded on truth, that will polish nations. For this purpose,

the powers of imagination must be awakened and exerted, to teach elegant feelings, and to heighten our natural sensibilities. It is not the head only that must be informed, but the heart must also be moved. Many classic authors were known in the thirteenth century, but the scholars of that period wanted taste to read and admire them. The pathetic or sublime strokes of Virgil would be but little relished by theologists and metaphysicians.

SECTION XII.

THE most illustrious ornament of the reign of Edward the Third, and of his successor Richard the Second, was Jeffrey Chaucer; a poet with whom the history of our poetry is by many supposed to have commenced; and who has been pronounced, by a critic of unquestionable taste and discernment, to be the first English versifier who wrote poetically. He was born in the year 1328, and educated at Oxford, where he made a rapid progress in the scholastic sciences as they were then taught: but the liveliness of his parts, and the native gaiety of his disposition, soon recommended him to the patronage of a magnificent monarch, and rendered him a very popular and acceptable character in the brilliant court which I have above described. In the mean time, he added to his accomplishments by frequent tours into France and Italy, which he sometimes visited under the advantages of a public character. Hitherto our poets had been persons of a private and circumscribed education, and the art of versifying, like every other kind of composition, had been confined to recluse scholars. But Chaucer was a man of the world : and from this circumstance we are to account, in great measure, for the many new embellishments which he conferred on our language and our poetry. The descriptions of splendid processions and gallant carousals, with which his works abound, are a proof that he was conversant with the practices and diversions of polite life. Familiarity with a variety of things and objects, opportunities of acquiring the fashionable and courtly modes of speech, connections with the great at home, and a personal acquaintance with the vernacular poets of foreign countries,

a Johnson's Diction. Pref. p. 1.

opened his mind, and furnished him with new lights. In Italy he was introduced to Petrarch, at the wedding of Violante, daughter of Galeazzo duke of Milan, with the duke of Clarence: and it is not improbable that Boccacio was of the party. Although Chaucer had undoubtedly studied the works of these celebrated writers, and particularly of Dante, before this fortunate interview; yet it seems likely, that these excursions gave him a new relish for their compositions, and enlarged his knowledge of the Italian fables. His travels likewise enabled him to cultivate the Italian and Provencial languages with the greatest success; and induced him to polish the asperity, and enrich the sterility of his native versification, with softer cadences, and a more copious and variegated phraseology. In this attempt, which was autho rised by the recent and popular examples of Petrarch in Italy and Alain Chartier in France", he was countenanced and assisted by his friend John Gower, the early guide and encourager of his studies. The revival of learning in most countries appears to have first owed its rise to translation. At rude periods the modes of original thinking are unknown, and the arts of original composition have not yet been studied. The writers therefore of such periods are chiefly and very use

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• The earl of Salisbury, beheaded by • Leland Script. Brit. 421. Henry the Fourth, could not but pa Gower, Confess, Amant. 1. v, fol. tronise Chaucer. I do not mean for 190. b. Barthel. 1554. political reasons. The earl was a writer of verses, and very fond of poetry. On

And grete wel Chaucer, when ye mete, this account, his acquaintance was much

As my disciple and my poete : cultivated by the famous Christina of

For in the flowers of his youth,

In sundrie wise as he well couth, Pisa ; whose works, both in prose and

Of dites and of songes glade verse, compose so considerable a part of the old French literature. She used to

The which he for my sake made, etc. call him, “ Gracieux chevalier, aimant (Francis Thynne in his letter to Speght dictiez, et lui-meme gracieux dicteur.” (ap. Todd's Illustrations of Gower and See M. Boivin, Mem. Lit. tom, ii. p. 767. Chaucer) has justly observed, that seq. 4to. I have seen none of this earl's these lines are uttered by Venus; and Ditties. Otherwise he would have been consequently, that the inference drawn here considered in form, as an English from them is wholly unfounded. Chaupoet.

cer had published all his poems, except Froissart was also present. VIE DE the Canterbury Tales, previous to the PETRARQUE. iii. 772. Amst, 1766. 4to. I appearance of the Confessio Amantis. believe Paulus Jovius is the firstwho men- Edır.) tions this anecdote, Vit. Galeas, ii.p.152. VOL. II.

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